British publisher of Nazi reprints wins German court battle
A court ruled that the publisher had not intended to whip up racial hatred when he published annotated facsimiles of Nazi newspapers such as the 'Voelkischer Beobachter.'Berlin -- A British publisher who has reprinted Nazi-era newspapers for educational purposes has won a German court battle over their distribution, a tribunal spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The superior regional court in the southern city of Munich said it had ruled that Peter McGee had not intended to whip up racial hatred when he published annotated facsimiles of Nazi newspapers such as the Voelkischer Beobachter.
It said in a statement that the ruling, dated April 17, noted that printing Nazi swastikas from the original mastheads, which are generally outlawed in Germany, was legal in an educational context.
"This condition applies in this case because the accused as the publisher of 'Zeitungszeugen' is evidently pursuing the goal of enlightening citizens with his publication, based on the choice of commentators and the selection of other supplements," it said.
The state of Bavaria had ordered the series, known as "Zeitungszeugen" ("Newspaper Witnesses"), pulled from newsstands because they could cause offence or be seized on by neo-Nazis.
Defenders of the series, which went on sale in January, said the accompanying commentary from leading historians put the papers in their proper historical context.
The tribunal said that Bavaria could not appeal the decision.
It was the second German court victory in a month for McGee.
In late March, the regional court in Munich ruled that he could continue to sell the reprints for editions up until the start of World War II in 1939.
The Bavarian government had launched legal action to put a complete stop to their sale because it holds the rights to all publications from the main Nazi publishing house and was suing McGee for copyright infringement.